Every little girl growing up deals with reinforced “cultural norms” brought on by a stereotypical set of rules. Breaking free of these invisible social constructs for women have been tough when we’ve been raised around media portraying certain unrealistic gender-specific roles. Our whole lives, out of habit, we’ve tended to treat women according to these nonsense concepts and perpetually reinforce untrue phrases such as; “girls are bad drivers”, “girls don’t enjoy big trucks”, “women are too delicate to live the commercial driving lifestyle”, etc.
Well, you know what? All those stereotypes are dead wrong. An emerging trend in the trucking industry is women joining the workforce. And now these big-rig driving gals are showing everyone that women can absolutely keep up with the fellas. In fact, according to some research, women are overall less likely to have incidents of reckless driving, seatbelt violation speeding, failure to yield, or stop sign running.
Although, we saw our first female truck driver way back in 1929 with a forerunner of the industry, Lillie McGee Drennan, who went on to also be the sole owner of the first trucking company owned by a woman. By the 1960’s there was an increase in females getting behind the wheel of commercial trailers. However, in those days there wasn’t air-conditioned vehicles, power steering, designated bathroom facilities for ladies, and unions made it extremely difficult to get into the profession.
As traditionally male dominated careers are getting more and more ladies in their fields, its no surprise that now they are joining trucking, too. So why are there now over 200,000 female truckers in the United States when less than a decade ago there were barely 133,000? It could be the secure job market considering the transportation industry is always in hot demand and pretty much is the backbone of our economy. Think about it! If we didn’t have skilled truck drivers, we wouldn’t have all the great products, resources, or even food that we take for granted in our blessed country. Maybe women are choosing a career where they have the freedom away from office setting type criticisms. Women are wising up and choosing a career where they have a secure job market and get to see the country. Not every woman wants to be a stay at home mom or stuck inside a cubicle all day!
These days, companies finally have realized the valuable skills women possess and why they are making top-notch truck operators. Additionally, these days it’s not unheard of for women to be owner-operators running at least 2 or 3 in her fleet. Even more so, it’s very common these days for couples to hit the road together! This can be a great way to build relationships and take turns driving. (Its kind of like a romantic road trip that you get paid to go on!) It’s also a great way for female drivers to feel safer than when they are riding solo when they are more susceptible to dangerous situations.
So what’s in store for the future of these estrogen-fueled truckers? Well, companies are making conscious efforts to start recruiting more females into the field. Additionally, people are becoming more woman-friendly with the help of organizations such as Women in Trucking who have been striving to raise awareness and interest to the profession. Additionally, they work to encourage trucking companies to make trucking more desirable for women by changing the field into a job where they can find a work and life balance like returning home after a day of driving. Female truck drivers certainly can be the solution to the driver-shortages we face in our country.